Rehearsal Revelations: Unlocking the Power of Self-Reflection

Rehearsal Revelations: Unlocking the Power of Self-Reflection

Rearview Mirror Revelations

At age 80, I still ask myself, “Who do I want to be when I grow old?” I’ve enjoyed many roles – author, entrepreneur, corporate executive, global speaker, father, spouse, wilderness guide, restaurant partner, and non-profit founder. And now, I’m the co-author of the 4th edition of The Power of Purpose.

Does this reflection at 80 in the rearview mirror define who I am today? Or is who I am today defining the roles that I’m choosing to act upon? I’ve come to recognize and accept that people who do rearview mirror reflection during late life have an awareness that to be fully who they are meant to be on this earth is better served by viewing their life now through the windshield. This comes at different times to each of us. Sadly, some never realize it. We might not all become who we hoped for, but reimagining our late life possibilities in the windshield is a first step.

My most striking revelation has been how much the arc of aging entails a subjective interior and even spiritual process – nothing less than the reclaiming of our unique spark of purpose. I reflect on my own purpose – Unlocking the Power of Purpose – and a remarkable thought from the philosopher Martin Buber: “Every person in this world represents something new, something that never existed before, something original and unique, and every person’s foremost task is the actualization of their unique, unprecedented, and never-recurring possibilities.” I truly have experienced what Buber says – that everybody has something unique to contribute. And it’s been my purpose and my privilege to assist people to get in touch with it.

The Windshield Perspective

Peter W. Marty wrote in the Christian Century magazine (June 17, 2022), “The windshield on my car is five feet by three feet in dimension. I know this because I just measured it. The rearview mirror inside is 9 inches by 2 inches. There’s a reason the windshield is about 100 times larger than the mirror – cars are designed to be driven forward. Drivers benefit from having an optimal view of where they’re headed.”

It strikes me that a lot of people spend their days trying to steer their way through life by fixating in the rearview mirror. What’s behind them, in their own life’s experience, guides their navigational instincts. Instead of believing that God or anybody else might be beckoning them toward a new future, they’re more focused on recovering the past. The orientation map they rely on keeps directing them backward rather than forward, which turns out to be a pretty difficult way to drive.

It’s often said that hindsight is 2020, meaning if we knew in the past what we know now, we might have acted on that insight. A rearview mirror is like hindsight because it shows us where we’ve been. When we reflect on our past from a purpose perspective, it can bring new choices. This new perspective is life-changing. Here are two ways how you can embrace that new purpose perspective.

Unlocking the Power of Purpose

Richard Leider, the founder of Inventure – The Purpose Company, is the author of twelve books, including two best-sellers which have sold over one million copies. Repacking Your Bags and The Power of Purpose are considered classics in the personal growth field. Richard’s PBS Special, “The Power of Purpose,” was viewed by millions of people across the US. His recent book is Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Old: The Path of Purposeful Aging. His newest book is the 4th edition of The Power of Purpose, to be released in December 2024.

General Authority and Personal Authority

In a thought-provoking article on, Julie de Azevedo Hanks, PhD, LCSW, shares insights about navigating the tension between following general church-wide counsel and receiving personal revelation.

Hanks recounts a session with a client named Allison, who had a profound realization during a General Conference session. Allison recognized that “not every talk at General Conference was for her.” She explained, “Do you know why General Authorities are called General Authorities? Because they have general authority and give general counsel. Local authorities are called local authorities because they have local stewardship and give local counsel. I have personal authority and can receive personal revelation and guidance that’s customized to me.”

This simple yet profound insight resonated deeply with Hanks. She realized that the familiar phrase “General Authority” had lost its deeper meaning for her. Hanks had typically thought of General Authorities as seasoned priesthood leaders, but Allison’s perspective shed new light on the term.

Hanks goes on to explain the importance of balancing general church-wide counsel with personal spiritual insight. “Human beings simultaneously have the need to be individual and yet also be part of a group. There is a need to have individual revelation for my own life and also to belong to the body of the Church by following the Brethren in their revelation.”

Navigating this tension can be challenging, but Hanks emphasizes the value of seeking personal revelation to resolve any dissonance. “Among the most sacred spiritual experiences I’ve received have been related to this quest to reconcile differences in personal revelation and general revelation for the Church as a whole.”

Crafting a Customized Path

Reflecting on the need to balance general counsel with individual inspiration has given Hanks another lens through which to examine her own personal journey. She shares how, throughout her life, she hasn’t exactly fit the cultural mold of the “ideal Mormon woman.”

Despite marrying and starting a family at a young age, Hanks continued her education, went to graduate school, pursued a music career, and worked as a psychotherapist – all while being the primary parent at home. The culture had told her that if she were a righteous woman, she would want to stay-at-home with her children and sacrifice any personal aspirations.

But Hanks felt called to a different path. “I have worked very hard to purposefully craft my careers so I could be in charge of my schedule and be there for key moments in my children’s lives.” She trusted the personal revelation she received, even when it didn’t align with the general cultural expectations.

Hanks found great comfort in knowing that when her course didn’t look like that of many of the wonderful women around her, “it wasn’t because any of us were doing anything wrong. It was instead because we had each accessed our personal authority as stewards of our lives to craft a customized path.”

The Power of Revelation

Hanks eloquently states, “I believe that living close to the Spirit helps us to create that path in a way that is consistent with both general counsel and personalized inspiration.” She cites a quote from the late President Boyd K. Packer: “Revelation is not confined to the prophet. It is shared by the General Authorities. And across the world, local leaders constantly report of the guidance that they receive when they have decisions to make or when needing further light and knowledge. And of course, each of us, if we will live for it, may be the recipient of spiritual communications for our own personal guidance.”

Hanks encourages us to harness the power of both General Authority and Personal Authority to create our own unique paths. “How have you navigated tensions that arise when general revelation and personal revelation are seemingly discordant?”

As I reflect on my own life journey, I’m reminded of the profound wisdom shared by Allison, Hanks’ client. Not every message or counsel is meant for me; I have personal authority to receive customized guidance. By embracing this perspective, I can navigate the sometimes-conflicting waters of general and personal revelation, crafting a path that is true to my unique purpose and calling.

The musical theater education and performance center has been a vital part of my own self-reflection and creative expression. It is within this nurturing community that I’ve discovered the power of purpose-driven rehearsals, where self-reflection unlocks new levels of artistry and personal growth. I encourage you to explore the center’s resources and embrace the transformative potential of Rehearsal Revelations.

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